Combine preview: Cards’ overhauled staff, options with 7th pick

Arizona Sports News online

You could call the NFL Combine one big new car dealership for scouts, coaches, and executives across the league who gather in Indianapolis every February to “kick the tires” on future pro prospects leading up to April’s much-anticipated draft.

For nearly a week college football’s elite are poked and prodded, put through a series of physical, mental, and emotional tests under the microscope of 32 teams.

Myself and Ed Cole from here at will be in Indy this week to cover all the intriguing story lines with the Cardinals and their restructured coaching staff/front office, as well the local position players from Arizona State and Arizona.

Below are some angles we’ll be covering from the RCA Dome.

Getting to know new Cards head coach Bruce Arians The 2012 AP Coach of the Year who helped lead the Colts to the playoffs on an interim level returns to Indianapolis as the new leader of the Red Birds. What kind of coach is he both on and off the field? We’ll look to tell the story from the eyes of the Colts franchise after he stepped in while Chuck Pagano was hospitalized with leukemia.

How are Arians and new General Manager Steve Keim piecing together their draft strategy?: Both face big expectations with their first draft in their new positions with the Cards holding the seventh overall pick and holes to fill on both sides of the ball. Keim steps in for Rod Graves who was fired after 15 years with the organization.

How is Ken Whisenhunt adjusting to life in San Diego? The man who Arians replaced was hired by the Chargers and their first-year had coach Mike McCoy as the Bolts new offensive coordinator. How is the new staff jelling and what tweaks will he make with quarterback Philip Rivers who’s thrown 35 interceptions the past two seasons?

Which Arizona State Player will make the biggest impact at the Combine? The Sun Devils will be well-represented with linebacker Brandon Magee, former Mesa High safety Keelan Johnson, and Scottsdale Desert Mountain punter Josh Hubner. None are expected to be high picks or possibly picked at all, but each are intriguing prospects. Todd Graham told he’s “the best punter he’s ever coached” who will “punt for a living for awhile.” While former ASU head coach Dennis Erickson told Brad Cesmat Monday on ‘Big Guy on Sports’ Magee is “one of the better guys and players I’ve been around.” Johnson showed a knack for the ball registering 88 tackles and picking off five passes in 2012.

How will Matt Scott measure up for NFL Scouts? The former UofA quarterback thrived in his one season starting in Rich Rodriguez’s spread offense throwing for over 3600 yards and 27 touchdowns last season. He’s been projected as a fifth round pick with a similar skill set to Cleveland Browns backup Seneca Wallace. He will look to show consistency throwing the ball and taking snaps under center, something he didn’t do in Rich Rod’s scheme in Tucson.